On this day in 1910, The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP and was founded by W.E.B. Du Bois. The publication served as a gathering space for budding writers and reporters while cataloging the development of the early civil rights movement, continuing much of that mission today.
Du Bois founded the publication, originally known as “The Crisis: A Record Of The Darker Races,” alongside Oswald Garrison Villard, J. Max Barber, Charles Edward Russell, Kelly Miller, W.S. Braithwaite, and M.D. McClean. From 1918 to 1926, famed poet Jessie Redmon Fauset was the publication’s literary editor.
It was under Ms. Fauset’s guiding hand that many of the Harlem Renaissance’s best writers found their voice. Notable names such as Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Jean Toomer all launched robust careers by way of the publication.
In a 1940 interview, Du Bois stated that the aim of the publication was to share some of his well-heeled opinions on the state of the Black race. However, Du Bois added that he would only publish works that supported the overall aims and message of the NAACP.
Du Bois split with the publication in 1934 after he began advocating a stronger message of Black separatism, which ruffled the feathers of many in the NAACP. Roy Wilkins took over as editor in his place until 1949 when he became the NAACP’s acting secretary. Despite the split, The Crisis still recognized Du Bois as a founder.
Today, the publication is overseen by Emerson College professor of writing, literature, and publishing, Jabari Asim. Asim has held the position of Editor-In-Chief since 2007. The Crisis is still a print publication but has placed a new emphasis on its digital spaces in the past few years. The publication is based in Baltimore, Maryland.